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What Now? Tips on the College Application Process after You’ve Hit Send

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After you applied to college

You’ve just hit send on your early college applications and done the requisite victory dance around the kitchen. Truly, there is much to celebrate and be proud of. However, once the music stops and the dance is done, what now? There is a plethora of information and guidance on how to create the college list, fill out the applications, create the activities resume, apply for financial aid, and draft the ever-so-important college essays, but there is little input on what happens after you hit send.

Here are a few tips to guide you through the college application process after you’ve hit send.

Follow-up.

Check the status of your application. Once you’ve hit send, simply click on the link provided by the college to be sure your file is complete. Has your application been received? Does the school have your transcript, test scores, and recommendations? If not, follow-up. Touch base with your college counselor or the testing company if any piece of your application is missing.You’ve worked too hard not to. This is the time to be sure everything is in order.

Keep going.

Don't stop now. You’ve hit send on your EA/ED apps. Your plan—if you get in— celebrate, if you don't—dig in during those last two weeks in December to brainstorm, write and edit your remaining essays while also trying to study for midterms and vacation with your family. My tip: rethink your plan. Hit send and keep going. Write a draft of the other essays. If that doesn’t work for you, at the very least, write an outline for your remaining essays so if you need to dive back in during exams or vacation, you’ll have a launch pad from which to start writing.

Post wisely.

You're in the final stretch. You've hit send on most, if not all, of your applications. First quarter grades are in. Now it's time for the social media sweep. Look over your Facebook, Twitter, Vines, Instagram, Snapchat pages, pics, and messages. What do they say about you? If the message is not appropriate to share with a college admissions officer, then it shouldn't be on your page. Colleges do their research, too. In this world, you are what you post, like and tweet. So, post wisely.

Disconnect.

Once you’ve hit send, followed-up, and know your applications are complete, it’s now time to disconnect from the college application process and embrace the remainder of high school. Spend time with friends, join the a cappella group, audition for the play, try-out for the varsity team, or get a job. Whatever you do, stop thinking about, talking about, worrying about college. It’s time to enjoy high school again.

Don't share online.

The moment has come and you have a YES from your top college. You blast your favorite song and jump around your room. You've shared the good news with your family, and now you want to share it with your Twitter, Facebook, Vines, Snapchat worlds. I encourage you to hold off. Not everyone has heard. And, perhaps more to the point, not everyone has heard good news (YET). Enjoy every deservedly happy yes-moment, but be respectful that others are still waiting for their happy moment.

So, once you’ve hit send on all or some of your college applications, be sure to be thoughtful, respectful, follow through, and then disconnect and enjoy the rest of your senior year. It’s that easy.

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Elly Swartz is the founder of The Essay Adviser, a writer, a lawyer, and a former teacher of Legal Research and Writing at Boston University School of Law. Elly helps navigate the application process, and is dedicated to providing personalized application and essay advisory services for college, graduate school and independent secondary school through individual advising and group workshops.

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